EXCLUSIVE: Hennepin County Employees Given Paid Time Off To Mourn George Floyd

The offer for paid time off to mourn Floyd's death comes as Hennepin County appears to face significant financial troubles.

Employees of Hennepin County have been awarded 16 hours of paid time off to mourn the death of George Floyd. 

Every one of Hennepin County’s 8,500 employees that qualify for benefits can take 16 hours of paid leave in two hour increments at any time until the end of the year to mourn the death of George Floyd. Floyd died last week after he was taken into custody by Minneapolis Police. The order granting all employees time off came by way of the County Administrator, David Hough, Tuesday, who says the decision was unanimously approved by the County Board. 

An anonymous Hennepin County employee forwarded a screenshot of Hough’s announcement of the paid time off to Alpha News and explained some of the context surrounding this decision.

In this message, Hough describes Floyd’s death as “a moment of trauma reverberating throughout the world” that resulted from “hundreds of years of institutional racism and the continued marginalization of communities of color.” 

He also told county employees that the “important work of systemic change” lies ahead. 

Screenshot of the message that announces paid time off for Hennepin County employees.

The county employee who provided the information about the paid time off said that they were not aware of any broad push for such a measure on behalf of county workers. The employee also reported that just one week ago, the county had asked if any of its workers would be willing to voluntary furlough themselves to save money– an apparent signal that the county has been running a significant deficit or facing other financial problems. 

The employee also anticipated that turmoil in Hennepin County, which encompasses Minneapolis, will likely drag on for weeks.

The offer of paid time off appears to extend to Minneapolis police officers whose jobs are also under attack as the City Council President expresses her intent to abolish the police department with the support of other council members including that of Jeremiah Ellison, the State Attorney General’s son.